5 Ways to Deal With the Dreaded “No”

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No one likes hearing “no,” but I would venture to say that we entrepreneurs hear that word more than almost anyone else – if you are doing your job right. Your job is to continue to take risks and throw out proposals, plans, and products. Eventually, one is going to stick and you will get the next gig or sale, but in the meantime, you will be hearing plenty of “no.”

To him, a ‘no' is a prelude to a ‘yes.'

That is okay. That means you're on track.

But does it get easier? Maybe. I was recently talking to a pal who flies around the country making sales. We were talking about the dealing with the dreaded “no,” and his take is that it is just not a big deal – it’s part of the game. To him, a “no” is a prelude to a “yes.”

Having a good attitude – that is one way to deal with no. Here are some others:

Learn from it: A “no” may mean many things, and the first thing to figure out is whether the missed opportunity is your fault or theirs.

It may be that what you have to sell is not what they need to buy. In that case, no means no.

Or, it may be that, to quote George Costanza, “It's not you, it's me.” If the reason you hear “no” too often is because you are doing something wrong, then you better figure it out pretty quickly. Is it your presentation? Your prices? Your manner? Whatever the reason, if you can discover a consistent theme, then you can begin to make corrections.

And how do you do that? Be bold, grasshopper! Ask your declining prospects why they said no. They may be honest and they may not, but unless you ask, you will have no idea.

Turn it around: Sales can be described as the art of overcoming people's obstacles. Zig Zigler says there are five basic obstacles to any sale: No need, no money, no hurry, no desire and no trust. Overcome those, and no becomes a yes.

Of course, there are countless ways to do that, but here is a new one I recently discovered. I saw Jack Canfield speak recently (Chicken Soup for the Soul, etc.). He has a principle called “10.” He asks prospects, “Was my proposal a ten? If not, what would it take to make it a ten for you?”

If you hear a no, maybe offering a “ten” solution is the answer to overcoming the obstacle.

Use it to your advantage: A “no” can perform several useful functions, take your pick:

Let it fire you up: The greats at anything were often told they could not do something. Let your “no” fuel your fire.

Point you in a new direction: A “no” is feedback, after all. It can reinforce that you are on the right path: A “no” is just one person's opinion. Like my pal, you give it the weight you want.

And finally, sometimes a no really is just a no. No big deal. As they say, “Smile and dial, smile and dial.”